Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Intermodal Rail Freight Group Buys Terminal and Opts for New Container Handling Cranes

Repeat Rubber Tyred Gantry and Reach Stacker Orders from CSX Corporation
Shipping News Feature

US – CANADA – FINLAND – The rail freight and intermodal carrier CSX Corporation has had a busy month or so, with the acquisition of a new bulk cargo terminal in Florida, the extension of multimodal services in Illinois and now the purchase of four new Konecranes rubber tyred gantry cranes (RTG’s) for installation in two of the company’s container yards in Canada and Chicago.

The CSX ‘Select Site’ programme specifies locations for manufacturing projects along the CSX network that can progress rapidly because standard land use issues have been addressed, and the site is ready for development following a comprehensive due diligence process. To receive CSX Select Site designation, the location must meet a rigorous list of criteria, including infrastructure and utility availability, environmental reviews, appropriate zoning and entitlement, air quality permitting, rail serviceability, proximity to highways or interstates, and other attributes.

Now, with the addition of Tuscola Industrial Rail Park, Illinois to the scheme CSX has eleven such designated sites across its twenty three state service territory. CSX introduced the Select Site programme in 2012 to better serve customers in their own backyards by adding rail transport access routes for some of the premier manufacturing properties in the eastern US. CSX partnered with The Austin Company, a nationally-known site selection firm, to screen candidate sites and assist communities with the application and certification process.

Last month the corporation acquired the Eastern Associated Terminal in Tampa, Florida from the Ingram Barge Company. This bulk phosphate handling operation sits next to, and will now be combined with, CSX Transportation Incorporated’s own Rockport terminal on Tampa Bay, and the combined entity will be now called Rockport Terminals, and will occupy over 300 acres incorporating more than 25 miles of rail track. The purchase increases the group’s staff levels in the area by almost 50% with the addition of twelve new operations personnel at the deep water facility, through which the company exports product from Central Florida's Bone Valley phosphate mining region.

In the group’s latest move, an order for the new RTG’s, three to be deployed in Valleyfield, Canada, and one in Chicago, came as no surprise, as last June CSX ordered three similar cranes from Finnish headquartered Konecranes. The new units are scheduled for delivery in June 2014 to CSX Intermodal Terminals and the value of the order was not disclosed. The RTG’s will be used for stacking and moving containers from rail to truck and vice versa. The cranes are equipped with the latest DGPS-assisted technology for container yards. This includes the Autosteering feature, which keeps the crane on a pre-programmed straight driving path, thus improving safety and increasing productivity. The RTGs have a lifting capacity of 50 tonnes and are able to stack one over three containers high.

In addition to the RTG order Konecranes will also supply two reach stackers which will be used for handling containers in first and second rails. The order for the two new reach stackers came after CSX Intermodal Terminals purchased an initial unit and obviously found it to be to the transport group’s satisfaction. Konecranes says that its local service is an important factor in the good relationship between the two companies and the provision of local access to service technicians and spare parts helps to ensure an interruption-free container handling process, as Jost Dämmgen, Sales Manager, Port Cranes, Konecranes, pointed out, saying:

“Close and good cooperation with our customer has paid off and resulted in another important order from them. Konecranes’ RTGs are equipped with several innovative features that offer significantly increased performance and reliability, and at the same time decreased maintenance costs.”